Posts Tagged ‘feeing frenzy’

October 31 roundup

  • Attempts to ban digital contraband are often fated to be both intrusive and futile [J.D. Tuccille]
  • “The Gender Pay Gap: Why We Fight The Narrative” [Ryan Bourne, Cato]
  • “He’s Back! Steven Wise’s Nonhuman Rights Project Seeks Habeas Corpus For An Elephant” [Ted Folkman, Letters Blogatory, Wise’s previous go and generally]
  • Regulatory battles between hotel industry and AirBnB spread across U.S. [Robert McCartney, Washington Post]
  • Concept of international human rights “has been swept into a broad river of campaigns for social justice, global economic development, environmental protection, multiculturalism, tolerance, access to water and sanitation, and more” and diluted in the process [James Kirchick, Commentary on new Aaron Rhodes book The Debasement of Human Rights: How Politics Sabotage the Ideal of Freedom; Cato forum from May with Rhodes, Kirchick, Roger Pilon, and Ian Vasquez; Rhodes interview with John Couretas and Caroline Roberts, Acton Institute]
  • “Pro-tip from the Third Circuit for attorneys requesting fees: Don’t have a single-spaced, 6- to 8-point font, 44-page fee petition including ‘hundreds of inappropriate, unethical entries that would likely be illegal if billed to a client.’ You might find yourself facing no fees, a sanction, and a referral to the attorney disciplinary board.” [John K. Ross, IJ Short Circuit, on Young v. Smith]

Lawyers hunt massive opioid-suit payday

“A Bloomberg review of almost 100 [opioid-suit] agreements between the municipalities and their lawyers puts the stakes into focus: If the plaintiffs collect anything close to the maximum $50 billion that a global settlement may yield, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence estimate, a handful of attorneys could pocket at least one-quarter of that.” In all so far, “lawyers have brought more than 900 cases on behalf of states, local governments and tribes, as well as unions, medical practices and individuals.” [Andrew Harris, Jared Hopkins and Hannah Recht, Business Week/Bloomberg]

“What made you think I wanted 53 firms churning on this case?”

“A federal judge in California last week criticized two lawyers for bringing an additional 49 law firms into a data-breach case, raising to 53 the total number of firms representing the plaintiffs….’What made you think I wanted 53 firms churning on this case?’,” asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, telling lawyers from Altschuler Berzon and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll that she was “deeply disappointed.” Koh went on to grant a request for a special master filed by Ted Frank, class action reformer with CEI and formerly a blogger in this space. [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal]

September 13 roundup

  • Scranton, Pa. federal judge “denies ‘exorbitant’ request for nearly $1M in attorney fees after $125K recovery” [ABA Journal; arose from bad faith insurance action on underlying uninsured motorist claim that settled for $25,000]
  • As PETA settles monkey selfie case with hapless photographer, details confirm that “Naruto is really just a prop to be deployed in the case as PETA sees fit.” [Ted Folkman, Eriq Gardner, earlier] A sad catalogue of litigation abuse enabled by PETA’s donors [Frank Bednarz thread]
  • Lively First Circuit opinion upholds extortion conviction of small town police chief [Bob Dunn, Berkshire Eagle, U.S. v. Buffis via IJ’s John Ross, “Short Circuit“; Lee, Mass.]
  • She beat DOMA and the IRS too, and all in great style. My appreciation of Edith Windsor [Cato at Liberty]
  • “North Carolina’s Fickle Finger of Redistricting” [also by me at Cato at Liberty]
  • Me: “Posner was the judge lawyers really didn’t want to run into if they had bad class action settlements to defend” [Jonathan Bilyk, Cook County Record, earlier]

Fee scrimmage in NFL concussion settlement

“The $1 billion NFL concussion settlement — nearly six years in the making yet still to deliver a penny to former players and their families for brain injuries stemming from football — is revealing the underbelly of the legal system to former players and their families. … Two dozen wives of former players recently sent a plea to the judge overseeing the case, asking her to address concerns that legal fees will be cutting heavily into money that was supposed to go their families. They cited lawyers charging ‘exorbitant’ retainer fees to players and their families despite the same lawyers being eligible to collect from a $112.5 million fund set aside to pay attorneys who worked on the case.” [ESPN]

Liability roundup

Ground Zero responder litigation, cont’d

“A 9/11 law firm tried to take $866,414 in what a judge found ‘unreasonable’ and improper expenses from money meant for sick Ground Zero responders, records show.” Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern had already reaped some $200 million in fees and expenses from “a $700 million mass settlement between 10,000 Ground Zero workers and the city.” [New York Post]

Related: federal judge approves $53.8 million in settlements for 82 members of Laborers Union local “which represents asbestos, lead and hazardous waste handlers in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey” and who alleged that Ground Zero cleanup, as opposed to other hazards they might have encountered on jobs, was to blame for “respiratory and digestive diseases, psychological injuries and cancer” they suffered; building owners and contractors were the defendants [Reuters] Earlier on Ground Zero responder litigation here, here, etc.

“Alabama man gets $1K in police settlement, his lawyers get $459K”

“An Alabama man who sued over being hit and kicked by police after leading them on a high-speed chase will get $1,000 in a settlement with the city of Birmingham, while his attorneys will take in $459,000, officials said Wednesday.” [Reuters/Yahoo] Readers may argue about whether this kind of outcome is fair, but note that it seems to happen more often, rather than less, in this country (with its putative “American Rule” that each side pays its own fees) than in other industrialized countries which tend more to follow “loser-pays” or “costs follow the event” fee principles. One reason for that is that the U.S. does not actually hew consistently to the so-called American Rule; across wide areas of litigation, including civil rights suits, it follows “one-way shift” principles in which prevailing plaintiffs but not prevailing defendants are entitled to fees, and whose encouragement to litigation is greater than either the American Rule or the loser-pays principle.

Related: The Pennsylvania legislature is moving to adopt a rule adopting one-way fees for some cases in which municipalities trample rights protected by the Bill of Rights’ Second Amendment, provoking peals of outrage (“dangerous,” “outrageous,” “threatens municipalities’ financial stability,” etc.) from elected officials few of whom seem to be on record objecting to one-way fee shifts when plaintiffs they like better are doing the suing. [Free Beacon]

Great moments in attorney fee requests

Judge Frank Nervo in Manhattan used phrases like “simply intolerable” and “gross overreaching” in denying Mayer Brown’s “request for more than $126,000 in attorneys’ fees in a lawsuit over a $6,400 security deposit. Judge Nervo added that the firm spent ‘a grossly unnecessary amount of time’ on simple tasks, including ‘research on the most basic and banal legal principles.'” [Clozel v. Jalisi, Above the Law]